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Department of Information Studies


Dean Strategic Fund 2017-18 | Recipient Report – Nenna Orie Chuku

By Ian Evans, on 29 January 2019

My application to the UCL DIS Strategic Fund 2017-18 was due to my research interests in oral history, community archives and migration studies, and my aspiration to work in digital humanities projects documenting the lives and histories of the African diaspora. With the success of my funding application, I was able to take two external oral history related training workshops delivered by the Oral History Society. The first training, ‘Introduction to Oral History’ (held in June 2018), provided a general overview and practical tips in conducting and documenting oral history. The second training session, ‘Lives in Focus: Recording: oral history interviews on video’ (held October 2018), equipped me with an understanding and skills to conduct oral histories and interviews on camera.

After the training, I felt more confident to develop a small project exploring the history of the current Sierra Leonean commmunity in London. Working with Hannah Isalem (DIS PhD candidate), and with encouragement from Dr Andrew Flinn, Hannah and I submitted an application to the UCL Beacon Bursary in 2018. This application requested funds to deliver a public engagement, co-production and reflective project on the techniques in community archiving, and an opportunity to record personal accounts of Sierra Leoneans who have made London their home. This application was successful and as a result we are currently delivering the ‘Creating and Finding Voices: the role of oral histories and community-led archives in the African diaspora’ project.

The ‘Creating and Finding Voices’ project has two primary aims:

(1) to increase the awareness and uses of oral histories in historical research and studies, and

(2) increase the number of personal accounts based on the contemporary history of Sierra Leone and its diaspora.

Further information on the project will be available from UCL Culture. You can also follow the project’s activities by following Salone Abroad on Twitter and Instagram.

Following on from this project, the next stage is to widen the project’s remit to include working with Sierra Leonean communities outside of London, so to document the accounts of Sierra Leoneans living there.

Many thanks for the support!

Nenna Orie Chuku

2nd year Digital Humanities postgraduate student

January 2019

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